February 13, 2018

For Valentine' Day--A Love Story Embraced by The Love of God

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson
The following is a true story. It was posted a few years ago. It is a love story:
Pineterest.com

























     It was the spring of 2014. Ed and Cathy Carmello (not their real last name) had only been my neighbors for a short time, less than a year I think.   They had met when Ed was 60 and Cathy was 40. They fell in love and, never having been married, happily “tied the knot.”  They had just celebrated their silver wedding anniversary and were simply enjoying retired life together.

There was a problem. Ed’s prostate cancer had returned with a vengeance and was destroying him quickly. Cathy was in her final battle with  Stage IV melanoma. Since I was a prostate cancer survivor and my first wife had died of melanoma, I was able to discuss their cancers openly with them. They knew I understood.

It was a Thursday afternoon around 4 .p.m. when I left to take my daily walk. I headed down the street, and there was Cathy standing on her front lawn supported by her walker.  I could see she was fighting to hold herself up. A bit anxious, I hurried over and said, “Hey, Cathy, what’s going on? Is everything all right?”

“I was waiting for you, Larry.  I need to talk to you.”

I was dumbfounded. “Are you kidding me? I never walk at this time of day, and you say you were waiting for me?”

“I just knew you were coming by.  I can’t explain it.”

A bit unnerved, I leaned against her SUV as she leaned heavily on her walker. “You know Ed is dying, right?”

“Yeah, Cathy, I know.  We talked about it.  He’s an amazing guy. What about your prognosis? Any change?”

She smiled and looked me right in the eye saying, “They told me I only have a few weeks left.”
I tightened my lips, took a breath, and asked, “What can I do?”

They knew that I was Catholic and an EMHC (Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion).  Cathy asked me if I could bring a priest over. She told me that they had been non-practicing Catholics and had not been to church in years. It was time for them to “make things right with God.”  I said, “I will put a call into Father as soon as I get back to the house.”

“Thank you so much.  That is why I was out here waiting for you.”

I simply nodded. She smiled and thanked me and I walked her back to the house. She did not mention herself once, only her husband.  She told me how she wished she could ease his suffering and how wonderful it might be if they could go for a bicycle ride just one more time.  Then she mentioned how she thanked God for every moment they had had together.

We went inside and she, Ed, and I hung out for about ten minutes just chatting.  Cathy excused herself and slowly walked back to the bedroom.  Ed quickly told me how he wished he could ease her suffering and how God had been so good to him allowing him to find such a great woman to share his life with.  I took in a deep breath. (You know, when God is present sometimes it is hard to breathe).

I called our newly ordained priest, Father Scott. He came over the next day and spent about an hour with Ed and Cathy.  Ed and the young priest both had roots in Roanoke, Virginia, and talked and laughed and had a raucous good time together. Even though the two of them were separated by more than 50 years, it did not matter.  It was as if they had grown up together.  It was beautiful.  

Father heard their confessions, anointed both of them and gave them Holy Communion. He told them he would come back the first chance he could.  Sunday was Palm Sunday. It was the beginning of Holy Week, and he would be busy.  They all hugged and said good-bye. On Palm Sunday I had the honor of bringing them Holy Communion.

Easter Sunday I was again privileged to bring Ed and Cathy Holy Communion. In so doing, an unexpected  sight was forever etched in my mind.  They were lying next to each other in bed, holding hands.  Ed smiled and said, “Larry, we are SO happy. This is the greatest Easter we ever had.” 

He turned and looked at his wife who was smiling lovingly at him. She reached over and wiped his wet, happy eyes. They kept looking into each other’s eyes, and I thought they were maybe looking into each other’s souls. It was a moment that was filled with a shared spirituality I had never seen before. I could actually feel it. I have no doubt that at that moment Jesus was there with them holding their hands in His. 
                 

As for me, I thank God for their friendship and for being a part of their final journey. Sometimes I like to think that I took two people in love to the airport and watched them get on a plane for a a true flight to paradise.

                                  ©Larry Peterson 2014 All Right Reserved   

this is a newer version of an article from May of 2014

February 11, 2018

Servant of God: Anna Louise Lateau--her only Nourishment for 12 years was the Holy Eucharist

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME


Anna Louise Lateau   mysticsofthechurch.com
By Larry Peterson

On January 13, 1850, a baby girl was born to Adele Pissens Lateau and her husband Gregory. They named the child Anna Louise. Three months after Louise was born her dad passed away from smallpox. A healthy, powerful, 29-year-old metal worker, Gregory’s body was no match for the smallpox demon that ravaged him. His family was left in a terrible spot.

Adele had almost died giving birth to Louise and was still, for the most part, bedridden. The oldest child, Rosina, who was only three-years-old, actually tried her best to take care of her mom and two sisters. It was an unbelievably heroic attempt on the part of this small child. Her sister, Adelina, was only two and Louise, just three months old.  To make matters worse than they already were, Louise also contracted smallpox. Neighbors, fearing the dreaded disease, avoided the Lateau household and the family was virtually abandoned. How frightened Adele and her babies must have been.

A local doctor had been monitoring the Lateau family and told a local workman, Francis Delalieu, about the family. He asked him if he could check in on them. A week later, Francis, entered the home to check on the occupants. What he found horrified him. The one child was wrapped in dried out, smelly bandages, all the children were filthy and the mom was lying in bed in a state of despair. Francis, a kind, and decent man, immediately took charge of the house.

Francis immediately went and acquired food and the necessary provisions to care for the family. He treated baby Louise with extra loving care and, in effect, became “parental”. He cared for the family for the next two and a half years during which time Adele regained her full strength and the children were healthy. That entire transformation in itself was miraculous.

When Louise was eleven-years-old her mom allowed her to become a housemaid. Soon after she was trained as a dressmaker. When Louise was sixteen-years-old a cholera epidemic struck Bois-D’Haine. Louise began caring for six of the victims and even assisted in burying the dead. She had no fear of catching the disease. That was not to be as she also came down with the illness. Louise remained seriously ill into 1868 and on April 15th of that year, she received last-rites. It was ten days after this that the stigmata began to appear.

Louise noticed blood was dripping from her side. As was her personality, she said nothing. The following Friday the blood appeared again but this time it was also coming from the tops of her feet. On Friday, May 8, the bleeding began to come from the front and back of both hands and on Friday, September 25, the crown of bleeding spots appeared on her forehead.

She confided to her parish priest about it and, although quite stunned, he downplayed the entire phenomena. He asked her to not say anything about it. However, the experience for Louise continued every Thursday night until Friday evening for the rest of her life. Louise continued to work hard for the family as long as she could.

In 1871, Louise ceased to eat, drink and sleep. He only food was the Holy Eucharist which she received from attending daily Mass. The Bishop of Tournai, Joseph Labis, opened an investigation into Louise’s inexplicable spiritual journey. Quickly word spread even traveling abroad. Crowds began to gather around the little house on a daily basis. That was the way it would be from then on.

Louise Lateau told her pastor of her visions which consisted of the Pasion of Christ, the Virgin Mary and even some of the saints. She would go into ecstasy and remain that way for hours, oblivious to everything going on around her. She would seemingly remain painless as the phenomena continued and would have no recollection of the events that had happened while she was in ecstasy.

Renowned scientists and doctors were called in to examine and evaluate the young woman. None could find a rational explanation for her condition. Some of the atheistic and secular-minded scientists and doctors insisted what people were witnessing was nothing more than hysteria, blood anomalies or madness.

Anna Louise Lateau passed away on August 25, 1883. She was 33-years-old.  Her burial place became a place of pilgrimage and over the years there has been evidence of miracles happening through Anna Louise’s intercession.

This negative input into Louise’s narrative was effective at putting her cause for canonization on hold for over a century. The cause for sainthood must always be meticulously evaluated. She was declared a Servant of God but her cause for canonization was not opened in Rome until 1991. To date, the investigation has not moved forward.

Servant of God; Anna Louise Lateau, please pray for us.

                                      copyright©Larry Peterson 2018 All Rights Reserved


January 29, 2018

The Betrothal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Joseph is tied to the Protection of the Unborn Children, Marriage and Family

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

 The Holy Family  

By Larry Peterson

January 22, is the day the Catholic Church in America sets aside all else and joins in prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.  Traditionally, in the pre-1955 Church calendar, this day was set aside to honor the “Betrothal of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Joseph”. Today, this Mass is still celebrated by some religious orders using the Latin rite.

This is such a beautiful thing for the Church to do. By simultaneously, joining together the Day of Prayer for the Unborn with Roe vs. Wade and the Betrothal of Our Lady, it heralds the beauty of Motherhood, and it trumpets the profound, spiritual importance of marriage and family.

From the Gospel of Matthew 1: 18; “When Mary was engaged to Joseph, before their marriage, she was discovered to be pregnant---by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.”

From Matthew 1: 23: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name Him Emmanuel.”

In the old testament, Jewish marriages happened in stages. First came the betrothal. At this ceremony, the couple gave their consent. They were now considered truly married. However, before they would actually move in together as a husband and wife, there was a period of time where they spent time away from each other. This could be up to a year, and it was during this separation that the “newlyweds.” were to learn from older married couples how to be good, Jewish spouses.

In his1989 Apostolic Exhortation, Redemptoris Custos, Pope St. John Pual II, used the following words to describe the marriage ceremony of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph: According to Jewish custom, marriage took place in two stages: first, the legal, or true marriage was celebrated, and then, only after a certain period of time, the husband brought the wife into his house. Thus, before he lived with Mary, Joseph was already her husband.”

When God does things, He sure is meticulous. Mary and Joseph were, according to the law, married. There are those who say that Jesus was born out of wedlock. If the betrothal had not taken place, that might be accurate. But under the law, they were married. There are some would have you believe that Mary was no different than an unwed mother. This is false. 

The Blessed Mother was a married woman at the time of the Annunciation. She even asked the Angel Gabriel, “How can this be since I know not man?” And she is told it will be by the Holy Spirit. The Angel also informs Joseph. Therefore, within the Holy Family,  the sanctity of marriage and family is fully protected.

Since Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs.Bolton on January 22, 1973, more than 60,000,000 lives have been eradicated. The number is incomprehensible. Yet there are so many who justify this by using the rare examples of teenage rape or incest, out of wedlock pregnancies, Downs Syndrome, deformities, lack of finances, etc. We could also say the Blessed Virgin Mary's pregnancy was abnormal or irregular. Afterall, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ total DNA comes from a woman. Biologically, Jesus is not the son of Joseph, the Nazarene carpenter. But this man define’s fatherhood, and his example screams out to all men;  Love and protect the child and his/her mom, no matter what. Be loyal and true.Give them your name if you must.

Fittingly, on the 45th Anniversary of the two most ignominious Supreme Court decisions ever handed down, as we pray for the protection of the unborn, we can look to the marriage of Joseph and Mary, a marriage established by God and made perfect by His Son.

Lastly, it is hard to even imagine a better husband or father than a simple carpenter named Joseph. He is an example for all mankind.

We ask the Most Holy Family to pray for all the unborn and children everywhere.



                                              copyright©Larry Peterson 2018

January 22, 2018

During Respect Life Week, St. Gerard Majella: the patron of unborn children and expectant mothers, will be very busy.

St. Gerard Majella      Nashastudiya | CC BY SA 4.0

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

*This article appeared in Aleteia 1/21/2018

The Annual March for Life will take place in Washington. D.C. on Friday, January 19. Tens upon tens of thousands will march in defense of the unborn. Many expectant women, unsure of their situation, will not.   If you are one of them you might turn to St. Gerard Majella, the Patron Saint of Unborn Children and Expectant Mothers. Many a miracle has been attributed to this young man’s intercession.

Gerard was the youngest child born to Domenico and Benedetta Majella. They already had three daughters and Gerard was their only son. The date was April 6, 1726. The Majellas were a hard-working Italian family and, Benedetta, brought her children to Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Graces as often as she could. Gerard, only three, loved the statue of the “pretty lady with the baby.”

When Gerard got a bit older, he would run off to the shrine by himself. The first time he came home he yelled out, “Mama, mama, see what I got from the little boy.” In his hand, he held a small roll of bread. No one paid much attention but after several days of coming home with bread, his mom decided to follow him and see what he was up to.

What she saw stunned her because the statue of Our Lady of Graces apparently came to life and the Child she was holding scampered down to play with Gerard. She quickly left and , sure enough, when Gerard came home he had another small loaf of bread with him. Benedetta kept this to herself.

Gerard’s dad died when the boy was twelve, and the family was left in poverty. Gerard’s father had been a tailor so his mom sent him to her brother so Gerard could learn to sew and be a tailor like his father. However, after a four-year apprenticeship, Gerard was offered the job as a servant for the local Bishop of Lacedonia. Needing the money, he took the position.

The Bishop kept hearing stories about Gerard and his kindness, and how he would always stop and visit the poor in the clinic, how he always helped others and would even bring the poor leftovers from the bishop’s table. The young man was gaining a reputation just by being himself.

When the Bishop passed away, Gerard returned to his trade as a tailor. He divided his earnings among his mother, the poor and in offerings for the souls in purgatory. By the time he was 21 years-old, he had established a steady business. His mom was quite worried about her son. He looked thin and frail because he was always fasting and doing penance. She begged him to eat, and he told her, “Mama, God will provide. As for me, I want to be a saint.”

Gerard tried to join the Capuchins, but they thought him to sickly to endure the demands of the order. Finally, after much pleading and nagging, he was accepted as a lay brother into the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer aka the Redemptorists.

As a lay brother he would never be a priest, say Mass or hear confessions. He would live under the same roof and wear the same habit and share the prayers. He also would take the vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. He would be a caretaker to the monastery. He embraced this role and served them well acting as gardener, sacristan, porter, cook, carpenter and, of course, the tailor.

But there was always the children. They flocked to Gerard to hear his amazing stories and learn how to pray. Once, when a large group was sitting around listening to him, a little boy fell off a cliff. When they reached the child, they thought he was dead. Gerard said to the boy's father, “It is nothing.”  Then he traced a cross on the boy's forehead, and he awoke. It was just one of Gerard’s many miracles that were witnessed by people.

 Gerard had tuberculosis and died on October 16, 1755 . He was 29 years-old. Many miracles were attributed to his intercession. One stands out as the reason he has come to be known as the patron of mothers. A few months before his death he was visiting a family. He dropped his handkerchief, and one of the girls picked it up to return it to him. He told her to keep it for one day she would need it.

Years later, as a married woman, she was about to give birth and the doctor was sure the child would not survive. She remembered the handkerchief and asked for it. When she held it to her womb, the pain disappeared and she gave birth to a healthy baby. There was no explanation.

In 1893 Pope Leo XIII beatified Gerard. And on December 11, 1904, Pope St. Pius X canonized him in Rome. He was now St. Gerard Majella.

St. Gerard;  please pray for all those pre-born children in danger of losing their lives and for all expectant moms everywhere.

                                      copyright©Larry Peterson 2018

December 29, 2017

Greeting the New Year---the Catholic Way*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018   courtesy updatepedia.com

By Larry Peterson

According to Georgetown University , as of October 2017, there are 1.28 billion Catholics in the world. 70.4 million of them are in the United States. The USA has a population of approximately 330,000,000 people. That works out to about 22% of the American population being Catholic.

From the Pope down to the vagrant, each of us is an individual creation made by God. We are all unique. Incredibly, we will all be judged individually. And, as Catholics, we will be held to a higher standard. After all, we proclaim to be part of the Mystical Body of Christ which is filled with the deposit of faith. No matter how we lived our lives, the common denominator for all of us will be; How much we loved each other and our neighbor.

Based on that, here are some points to consider if we focus on, before all else, pleasing God in the New Year, the Catholic Way:
ü  Never forget that you are God’s individual creation and therefore a gift He has bestowed on the world. Be humbled by the fact that He does have you in the palm of His hand. Without Him you are nothing.
ü  Be happy with who and what you are. God made you and loves you. If you feel you need to change to please Him, you can do it. Just ask for His help.
ü  The choices you make are your responsibility. Sometimes our choices hurt us. Embrace them and learn from them and move on. Thank God for the experience.
ü  Sometimes NOT getting what you want or what you think you need is a blessing. If you trust God, you will thank Him. When “one door closes another opens.”
ü  Always count your blessings---not your troubles.
ü  Always do your best. The “best” is all God expects from each of us.
ü  You can make it through whatever comes along.
ü  Prayer is the most powerful of weapons and can be your greatest ally in all diversity.
ü  Don’t take things too seriously---especially yourself.
ü  The key to happiness is to give of yourself, not to “get’ for yourself.
ü  Miracles happen; you are one---I am one—we all are one.
ü  Temptation is everywhere. It is okay to say “NO.”
ü  Finally, never fail to help a neighbor, whoever it may be---even a stranger.

We all will experience “highs and lows” during the coming year. As Catholics, we have the armor of the church to shield us and the angels and saints to help us fight our battles with the evil one.
St. Michael the Archangel will always ‘defend us in battle”. St. Anthony will help us find lost items. St. Jude will help us through seemingly impossible barricades. Good St. Joseph is ready to help all men be good fathers and husbands. St. Monica will help moms and St. Dymphna will help those with experiencing emotional difficulties or suffering from Alzheimer's disease. And, of course, the Blessed Virgin Mary is always there for all of us.

Virtually every day of the calendar year honors a particular saint, and that saint has been assigned a special task; such as St. Padre Pio who is the patron of adolescents and volunteers or St. Maximilian Kolbe, martyred in the Holocaust, who is the patron of drug addicts. Help is always available when you are Catholic.

Lastly, we have in place for our salvation the most beautiful thing this side of heaven; the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We can actually be at the foot of the Cross and then witness the resurrection. It is there for all of us every day if we so CHOOSE. Then there are the sacraments, always available to build us up and restore us to where we should be.

Yes—being Catholic is very cool. We even have the Rosary.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2018 --“No Fear”

                                       copyright©Larry Peterson 2017


This article also appeared in Aleteia on December 29,2017

December 27, 2017

Francis Delalieu; A Good Samaritan--He saved a future Servant of God and her family from death and then he seemingly vanished.

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

The Good Samaritan  en.wikipedia.org
By Larry Peterson

One of the most famous Gospel readings is from Luke, Ch 10: 29-37; we all know it as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. When Jesus is asked which of the three was a neighbor to the robber's victim, Jesus said, "The one who treated him with mercy. Go and do likewise."  What follows is about someone who may be one of the greatest of  Good Samaritans of all time, a man we know almost nothing about.

Servant of God and Stigmatist; Anna Louise Lateau, passed away at the age of thirty-three. What is extremely interesting is the fact that Anna Louise would never have lived into her fourth month of life if it wasn't for a stranger whose name was Francis Delalieu.

The Lateau family was literally near death. The father, Gregory,  had died from smallpox just three months after Louise had been born. Adele, with three little children, was still bedridden after having a very rough time giving birth to Louise. Louise, still an infant, had also contracted smallpox. The oldest child, Rosina, was trying to be the in-house caregiver which included taking care of two-year-old Adelina.

The local doctor, overwhelmed with this smallpox epidemic, had stopped by about a week after Gregory's death to check on the family. He did his best to show three-year-old Rosina what to do. He knew it was hopeless and was sure he would soon come by and find them all dead. He told his friend, Francis Delalieu, about the family.

Try to imagine how this newly widowed, mother of three babies with no money was feeling. The despair and hopelessness must have been unbearable as she watched her three children quietly dying before her eyes. Weakened to a point where she was unable to get out of her bed, she was probably just praying that she would not be the first to die, leaving them alone. And suddenly the front door opened and there was Francis Delalieu. God was listening after all.

Francis immediately took charge. First, he cleaned up the children. Then he reassured them and left to acquire food and necessities. This man, this stranger, surely had the love of Jesus in his heart. He was risking his own life by being in a smallpox-infected household. He was spitting into the eye of the storm as he cleaned, fed and cared for the little children. This was, after all, 1850 and not 2017. They did not even have running water.

I have been (as have many others) a primary caregiver to someone seriously ill. Some caregivers are helping to nurse their loved one back to health after a serious surgery or accident. The upside to this type of caregiving is that an end is in sight because a reachable goal is possible ie; recovering from open heart surgery.

Then there is the alternative of caring for someone who is terminally ill. The goal in these cases is to help your loved one live as peacefully and as comfortable as possible until God calls them home. And then you have a person like Francis Delalieu. The only possible motivation he might have had to step into this situation was that of a Good Samaritan. He simply LOVED his neighbor.

Who was this man? Who was this stranger who came into a household that was a breeding ground for smallpox and had three babies with a bedridden mom living there who were near death? Who does this kind of thing simply out of kindness and compassion? Who would stay for almost two and a half years until the mother and children were once again healthy? Francis Delalieu is that person. There are many like him but most are unheralded and unheard of.

All we can seem to find out about Francis Delalieu is that he was a farmhand or a laborer and that he lived in or around the small town of Bois d' Haine, in Belgium. That is about it. It is known he took  Adele Lateau and her children under his care and nurtured them all until they were well. After that period of time Francis seems to have vanished. At least there is no record of him after that point in time which would be around 1853.

Anna Louise Lateau was gifted with the Stigmata in the year 1868. For the rest of her life, her nourishment was only the Holy Eucharist and a few glasses of water per day. She became one of the most famous stigmatists of the 19th century. Francis Delalieu was just an unknown man who stepped up and took care of his neighbor, just like the Good Samaritan in Jesus parable. I am sure his reward has been great in heaven. When God is involved, all things are possible.


                                    Copyright©Larry Peterson 2017

December 18, 2017

I am a Grandpa and YES! Just like Francis P. Church, I Believe in Santa, too

photo courtesy  hollywoodreporter.com


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson


Most folks do not know much about a man by the name of Francis Pharcellus Church. Heck, most people have never even heard of him. However, to me, he is one of the greatest newspaper editors of all time. That is because he took on a skeptical world and dared try to prove the existence of Santa Claus.

Francis Church was born in Rochester, New York, on February 22, 1839. At the age of 21, he graduated from Columbia College (now Columbia University). Francis had considered a career in law but opted instead for a life in journalism.

During the Civil War, he worked as a war correspondent. Together, with his brother, William, he worked on The Army and Navy Journal.  In 1869 Francis and William launched a literary publication called Galaxy Magazine. Contributors to Galaxy included Mark Twain and Henry James. But it was his position at the  NewYork Sun that would propel him to fame. And all he had to do was reach into his heart and write what he was feeling and believing.

A letter had arrived at the editorial office of the New York Sun. The letter read: Dear Editor---I am eight years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it is so. Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon  115 W. 95th St.


Francis P. Church just happened to be the lead editorial writer for the paper. He had a reputation as a man who was cynical, was an agnostic, and overall, more or less a grouch. Ironically, he was given the task to answer. 

What follows is the exact letter written by Francis Pharcellus Church and printed in The New York Sun on September 21, 1897. 



    Father Christmas  postcard circa 1919

Is There A Santa Claus?
From the editorial page of The New York Sun
September 21, 1897
_______________________________________________
Dear Editor---I am eight years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in THE SUN, it’s so. Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O’Hanlon
115 W. 95th St.
_______________________________________________
Dear Virginia, your friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes Virginia, there isa Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.We should have no enjoyment except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your Papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen andunseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and  picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah Virginia, in all this world, there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives! And he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten time ten thousand years from now , he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Francis Pharcellus Church, a cynic, and grouch, latched onto a hidden faith and gave Virginia and all those children from 1897 and after,  the joy of believing in Santa Claus. I think that Santa is God’s Christmas angel and HE allows him to do his thing every Christmas Eve. Go ahead; I dare you---prove me wrong. 

 MERRY CHRISTMAS
MERRY CHRISTMAS
                                            copyright©Larry Peterson 2017

Hanukkah—We Catholics should give this sacred Jewish Holiday more respect

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME


Menorah   en.wikipedia.org

 By Larry Peterson


The great feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated on December 12th.  In 2017 there is also another great religious holiday that commences on that same day. We Catholic/Christians hardly ever notice this day even though it is the most widely celebrated Jewish holiday in the United States. I refer to Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah). Hanukkah ends at sundown on Wednesday, December 20.

Virtually all of our faith is rooted in Judaism. Jesus was called “rabbi” and taught in the temple. St. Joseph was a “righteous Jew” who practiced his faith diligently abiding by the rules as best he could.  Our dear Blessed Mother was a Jewish girl given over to the temple hierarchy at the age of three. 

When the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer #1) is used by the priest offering Mass, “Abraham, our father in faith” is mentioned right after the consecration. Yes, our Catholic faith is most definitely descended from Judaism (no need to mention the Apostles).

What follows is about Hanukkah and some of the history and customs behind it. It is also meant to question why so many of us Catholic/Christians do not appreciate the profound connection between Judaism and Catholicism. Let us begin with the Bible and John 10: 22-35. This begins with the Feast of the Dedication. This is known today as the Festival of Lights aka Hanukkah. Verse 35 has Jesus saying, “---and scripture cannot be set aside---.”

In our Catholic Bible the Old Testament, 1 Maccabees 4:59,  reads; Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of dedication of the altar should be observed
with joy and gladness on the anniversary every year for eight days from the 25th day of  the month of Chislev.” This is today’s Hanukkah. And John has Jesus referring to it in his gospel. Jesus was celebrating Hanukkah. It follows that if Jesus celebrated Hanukkah, we Catholic/Christians owe it some respect.

Here is some basic information about Hanukkah:

.Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights”. This holiday celebrates the rededication of the Temple after Judah Maccabee and his brothers liberated Judea from pagan domination.

.The Menorah is a candelabra with a new candle lit each day of the celebration. The Catholic connection to Hanukkah lies in the fact that this Holiday comes from 1 and 2 Maccabees. These books are not in the Hebrew Bible or the Protestant (King James) Bible. But they are in the Catholic and Orthodox Bible.

.Gelt is Yiddish for coins. Gelt has been part of Hanukkah observances for centuries. Today, chocolate is often substituted for gold coins. There are those who say that chocolate gelt is similar to the European tradition of exchanging gold-covered chocolate coins in honor of the miracles of St. Nicholas.

.In 2013, the holidays of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah joined together on the same day, November 28. It was so unusual for this to happen they even had turkey-shaped menorahs in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. For many of today’s millennials, they may still be around when this clash of Holidays happens again. That will happen on November 27, 2070. As for me, I probably will miss that parade.


The following two (or three) blessings are said each night before the menorah is lit. Note the similarity to our Offertory prayers said over the bread and wine.

1) Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

2) Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.

 3) Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

HAPPY HANUKKAH and MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone.

                                        copyright©Larry Peterson 2017

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